Panaji: Having Union Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore and Bollywood superstar Akshay Kumar together in a ‘Koffee With Karan’ style tete-a-tete was “too tempting” an opportunity for filmmaker Karan Johar let go at the opening ceremony of the 49th International Film Festival of India (IFFI).
“We should leverage this great opportunity,” Karan said as he sought Rathore’s permission for an “engaging” conversation in which he “won’t cross the boundary”.
Looking debonair in black and sporting statement spectacles, Karan sat down for an almost 20-minute chat — sans coffee — in which he kept showering praises on Akshay and Rathore for their achievements.
Karan kept aside his tongue-in-cheek humour to have a straight-forward conversation, which primarily revolved around cinema and sports — both fields that Akshay loves, and which are also part of Rathore’s dual portfolios as Information and Broadcasting Minister and Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports.
Akshay, whom Karan referred to as the “poster boy of socially relevant cinema that are also entertaining”, spoke about ‘Gold’, which is due to be screened at IFFI as part of a dedicated section on sports films.
“I love (these stories) and enjoy them. Whatever films I make, I mean it. I am not just doing it for the sake of. I really mean it and that’s why I go ahead and do it,” said the actor, who has done films like ‘Toilet – Ek Prem Katha’ and ‘Pad Man’.
When asked what’s closest to his heart out of his two ministry portfolios, Rathore, said: “I have learnt a lot from both of my assignments.”
He said one leads him to meet creative people, and the other is about full-on energy.
The three of them displayed a great camaraderie with their quick wit.
When Karan asked them about the one common thing all of them do, Akshay was quick to respond: “I think we all do shooting”.
Karan laughed, and added: “That’s true… Some of us on set, and some of us on a target… We have shooting in common.”
The filmmaker also brought alive his ‘Koffee Quiz’ about his guests’ “prolific careers”.
Asked about his glorious achievements as a sportsperson, Rathore said: “Forget about what I have done… But I think the youngsters who are winning now… The 15 or 16 year old people who are stepping into competition… Not national, but international, and they are beating the best in the field… The attitude in these young generations stars is what makes us New India.”
Later in the conversation, Rathore expressed conviction that
Olympics 2024, 2028 will be “phenomenal for India” because of “the way the younger generation is now taking to sports and how everybody is becoming fitness conscious”.
From sports, Karan steered the conversation to his arena.
He asked Rathore that if someone had to make a biopic on him, which actor would he like to see as himself on-screen.
“I don’t know about the actor, but I would certainly like to have Karan Johar as the director of the film,” said Rathore.
Akshay prodded Karan about a possible title, and the filmmaker quipped ‘Khiladi’.
Karan questioned Akshay about who he would like to see in his biopic, the actor named Ranveer Singh.
In a question mixing sports and cinema, Karan asked Rathore which portfolio Akshay would be fit for as a minister.
Rathore said: “He can take mine… Information and Broadcasting, and Sports. There’s one more… There is one dialogue which Akshay said, which I think Mr Manohar Parrikar also said to our neighbours that ‘Don’t Angry me’.”
Karan promptly added: “So, he gets the Defence Ministry too.”
Akshay said on a more serious note: “My love for sports is very big. I have called him up and told him whenever there’s anything I can do for my country for sports, I am always there.’